The Athletics have been successful recently because they excel at finding role players, and because manager Bob Melvin helps keep them happy, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News writes in a piece contrasting the A’s with the Yankees and Mets. “(Melvin) has a good feel of the heartbeat of the clubhouse. You can look around and see when a guy is unhappy, and he calls him in the office. The rest of us might not even know he is doing it,” says Nick Punto. The A’s also get lots of mileage out of players acquired from outside their organization, like Josh Donaldson, Brandon Moss and Jesse Chavez. Being in a lower-pressure environment may also help the A’s, who managed to keep their GM in place and take the time to build a top team despite not having a winning season from 2007 through 2011. Here are more notes from around the big leagues.
- The Phillies deny that they make a mistake in including prospect Domingo Santana on a list of potential players to be named in the 2011 Hunter Pence trade with the Astros, Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports. A story in the Houston Chronicle last week stated that Santana had been placed on the list of potential PTBNLs by accident. “There was no mistake,” says Phillies GM Ruben Amaro. “If someone said that, they are misinformed because it’s absolutely, unequivocally wrong. It’s false.” Then-Astros GM Ed Wade requested that Santana be placed on the list, Amaro says. Santana, 21, is now a top prospect with the Astros, hitting .292/.368/.485 so far this season with Triple-A Oklahoma City.
- The biggest problem in the Red Sox‘ disappointing season has been its outfield, Tim Britton of the Providence Journal writes. Britton suggests that the team’s decision to allow Jacoby Ellsbury to leave appears defensible, but there weren’t many good backup plans available if Jackie Bradley Jr. struggled, which he has. In addition, Daniel Nava has played poorly, and Shane Victorino has had injury trouble. In hindsight, Britton suggests, the best reasonable move might have been to acquire an outfielder like Chris Denorfia of the Padres in a trade.
- Denorfia could be a hot name on the trade market this summer, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports predicts (scroll down). Denorfia can play all over the outfield and hit lefties, and he’ll be a free agent after the season. The Padres, meanwhile, have struggled, going 27-34 so far. Denorfia is hitting .265/.313/.368 in 167 plate appearances so far this season, although he’s hit better than that in four straight seasons before this one.